There are many decorative options for plants today so making the right choice for your plants is getting tougher. We will look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of different materials and features found in commonly available planters.
First lets look at the different materials that planters are manufactured from.
Glass vases or pot shaped containers are best used for cut plants or hydroponic gardening.
One of the great features of glass is that it will not absorb molds or fungus and will not discolor over time. If you are growing plants Hydroponically (in water without soil) then glass will allow you to see the root structures. The main disadvantage of glass for growing plants in soil is the lack of drainage. Drainage is very important when you want long plant life. If you are simply Forcing Bulbs to flower for a indoor center piece you may be able to get away with a decorative glass planter.
Some of the best looking planters are made of clay. They can be simple like the common orange bisk pot or they can be large and decoratively glazed like the Chinese influenced designs. One thing to keep in mind is that water will brake down a ceramic pot over time. This is especially true for gardeners that store their pots outdoors during the winter. Water will absorb into the planters walls and cause cracking when the water freezes and expands. Another problem is mold and fungus. Ceramic planters should be washed before they are used and treated for mold with a bleach / soap solution or commercial fungicide.
Ceramic planters will probably be the most expensive choices at your garden center. Large planters can go for well over $100.
You should also keep in mind that ceramic pots break relatively easy. The stormy winds or a family pet can tip them over and crack them.
But the largest benefit is probably look and feel.
If you like the way a ceramic planter looks then with proper care and cleaning you can have many years of use.
One of the great features of Plastic Planters is that they can come in many different sizes, shapes, colors and textures. Many recent plastic planters have been able to duplicate the appearance of ceramic planters and at a much lower cost. Other then cost the next best benefit is the easy of cleaning. Plastic provides a clean nonpourous surface that can be washed clean of any mold or fungus.
It is never recommended to use metallic planters alone. If you feel it is necessary for design purposed then place a plastic liner in the metallic container to reduce the corrosion of the metal surfaces and subsequent problems your plants may have from absorbing the corrosion through their roots.
For cost, durability and appearance plastic is the definite winner when it comes to planters. If you would like other options for decorative reasons then choosing a plastic liner will help protect your plant from molds and other contamination.